More than 40 dead in 24 hours of violence in Mexico


El Sabino Gordo bar where 20 were killed

Authorities in the northern Mexican city of Torreon said Saturday that they found 10 “mutilated” bodies inside the back of a truck…

The seven men and three women appear to have been killed several days ago in various locations outside the city and then later brought in, Notimex reported.

The news agency said authorities also had reports of human heads, found throughout Torreon, but it was not immediately clear whether those heads belonged to the bodies in the truck.

Separately, gunmen entered a downtown bar in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey and shot 20 people dead, police told the state-run news agency Saturday.

A preliminary investigation suggests that attack was sparked by a dispute between organized crime groups for control of the El Sabino Gordo nightclub, where drugs are allegedly sold, said Jorge Domene Zambrano, a public safety spokesman.

In a third incident, the bodies of 10 men and a woman were found Friday afternoon on the eastern outskirts of Mexico City, a Valle de Chalco municipal government official said in a statement.

The public security official, Javier Garcia, said the victims — all of whom were in handcuffs and bound with tape — had been shot.

Nationwide, there have been some 35,000 drug-related deaths since President Felipe Calderon began a crackdown on the cartels in December 2006, the Mexican government says.

So, uh, what numbers are meaningful? These deaths are generally characterized as being members of drug gangs – killing each other off. How much of the nation’s population is working for these gangs?

The numbers don’t seem to diminish. The killings don’t seem to slow down, week by week, month by month. I don’t have a personal stake in the slaughter in Mexico except when it slops over into New Mexico – which happens often enough to be accepted as part of the “local” drug scene.

Is Calderon’s war on gangs an effective weapon? If so – when is there to be a qualitative change?

Living in an antique house? Let’s go check the cellar!

A French couple have found a hoard of gold coins worth at least 100,000 euros in the cellar of their home in the town of Millau.

They were working on their drains when they dug up the 34 coins in a little clay pot, French media said.

The coins date from 1595 to the French Revolution, which began in 1789, said a local coin expert who evaluated them.

The most valuable is a double louis from 1640, during the reign of Louis XIII, worth 6,500 euros…

Marc Aigouy said the couple wish to remain anonymous but they live on rue Droite, an old Roman road which is the oldest street in Millau, in southern France.

Under French law, the couple are allowed to keep the treasure because it was found on their own property, Mr Aigouy said.

“This Old House” takes on added meaning.

Voyeur Artist gets visit from Feds over webcam spying

A Brooklyn-based artist has caught the attention of the Secret Service after installing a computer program on Apple Store computers that takes Webcam photos every two minutes, and posting those images on the Internet…

Kyle McDonald took the photos and posted them on a Tumblr blog called “People Staring at Computers.” He told Mashable that he got permission from Apple security guards to take photos in the store, but it’s unclear if they were aware that McDonald also meant installing software and snapping Webcam shots. Given that it attracted Secret Service attention, it’s safe to say that not everyone was excited by the project.

When asked on Twitter if he got permission from every person whose photo appeared on his blog, McDonald said no because “as i understand, photography in open spaces is legal unless explicitly prohibited.” He will, however, remove any photos if asked, he said. Well, duh?

It appears McDonald was committed, however; Apple wipes its computers every night, so he had to reinstall the program every day he took photos, Mashable reports. That program focused only on photos…

McDonald said the warrant he received from the Secret Service said his actions violated 18 USC section 1030. That deals with “fraud and related activity in connection with computers,” and covers, among other things, accessing a computer without authorization…

He took 1,000 photos over three days at computers in New York Apple Stores…

Sounds like a creep to me. Wonder if he considers public restrooms to be public spaces, too?

How to get a wee snip of a car – in India

Indian health officials have taken an unusual step to slow the nation’s birth rate – offering prizes that include a car in return for being sterilised.

One lucky man or woman can win a free Tata Nano in exchange for ending their fertility.

The first person to volunteer for sterilisation in Jhunjhunu, west of New Delhi, will be given a Nano, the world’s cheapest car, with other prizes including motorcycles, televisions and food blenders…

Reports also suggest that those volunteering to give away their baby-making ability will be paid a cash incentive of Rs1000, and Rs200 to those who urged them to go under the knife.

The move comes as India tries to control its rapidly growing population, which a recent census estimating it at more than 1.21 billion people.

I guess I could say, “Times change.” When I got my vasectomy as a young man in a very Catholic state, the surgery had to be “underground” because it was illegal. As was the sale of contraceptives.

My urologist made me swear I’d tell folks I had it done in Rhode Island. 🙂

Thanks, Honeyman

Smart monkeys use automatic doors to get into hospital


One of the miscreants

Monkeys are threatening to overrun India’s top hospital after learning how to operate the newly-installed automatic doors.

Doctors at the flagship All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi said the horde of red-bottomed rhesus macaque monkeys – who have roamed the sprawling campus for decades – had figured out how to let themselves into wards through motion-sensor doors.

The compromised wards include the neurosurgery department and nearby patient recovery rooms, which the monkeys often invade, snatching food, terrorising medical staff and playing around with sensitive equipment.

They also creating bedlam outside one of the operation theatres, and when chased away by the hospital security staff hide themselves in the false ceiling only to re-emerge when the coast was clear to continue their chaotic activity.

Some of these monkeys make their way into the wards. At least one monkey bite case is reported in the hospital every week,” Debjyoti Karmakar head of the resident doctors association said yesterday.

AIIMS spokesman Y K Gupta, said that the hospital had hired two grey langurs – another larger breed of monkey – to chase the marauding macaque monkeys away from the wards and residential areas…

The Delhi High court too has passed several orders to rid the capital of the monkey menace but to little avail.

Of course not. Monkeys rarely read the legal section of Delhi newspapers.